Reindeer Moon is the story of Yanan, a girl growing up in a Paleolithic lodge 20,000 years ago, and her courageous journey of becoming a woman and then dying and becoming a spirit. This book celebrates how Yanan’s people proudly relied on and learned from animals and the land. Yanan’s story is that of womanhood, love, survival, heartbreak, spirituality, hunger, and hunting.
Yanan’s geographical journey across the tundra is determined by hunting and the seasons. Her people follow the fat (animals) and travel in the hopes of finding proper hunting grounds. Yanan’s kinspeople know that fat is the most satiating food, and so they revere it. For example, they burn fat as an offering to the spirit and honor the animal by eating nose-to-tail. Diet and nutrition was not a debated topic 20,000 years ago; they knew how to eat and had an intrinsic connection to their food. This book will remind you that humans are also animals and that we have strayed from our traditional ways. Yanan's story as a proud kinswoman and protective spirit reminds us of our humanity.
The importance of fat transcends the physical world, for as Yanan joins her ancestors in the Camps of the Dead, she tastes the sun: “hot and crisp, mine burned my mouth but tasted good, just as I thought, it was mostly fat. What else can make such a fire?” (334)
At the Eastern Shore Food Lab, we are inspired by the past diets of our ancestors and strive towards educating modern society about these traditional eating methods. Using anthropological studies and records, we learn from the past and continue to celebrate fat and eat nose-to-tail just like our ancestors did!